Minor Popular milestone alert! This is the very latest song that I had no recollection of whatsoever before starting this project. Never saw the advert, never heard the record. So I’d have been really happy if this had been an unexpected delight, or even a minor pleasure. As it is the only unexpected thing about “The First Time” is its attempted fake-out: you think it’s going to be one kind of bad song (vaguely motivational ballad) and instead it’s another (vaguely agonised power ballad).
The latter doesn’t have to be bad, mind you – but “First Time” doesn’t go beyond its one selling point, the breathless surge at the end of the chorus. It’s a schlocky moment but as the climax to a 30-second TV spot it’s effective – though you’d hope hearing “I Love You” for the very first time would merit more than a can of pop. Repeat it several times over a single and it just seems a bit profligate, each peak a little smaller than the one before until the record fizzles out completely.